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More JCCs Open on Saturday Mornings

NEW YORK, NY -- A larger number of Jewish Community Centers are opening on Saturday mornings (a time of worship for Jews), but more are closing by sundown on Fridays, which is when Shabbat (a day of worship) begins, according to a recent survey by the Florence G. Heller-JCC Association Research Center.

In 2002, 10 percent of JCCs were open on Saturday mornings but that percentage rose to 23 percent in 2006. On Friday nights, 38 percent of JCCs now close before sundown instead of a set closing time each week, an increase from the 28 percent who did so in 2002.

Sixty-six percent of JCCs are open for at least part of Saturdays, which is a slight increase from the 70 percent that were open for at least some hours on Shabbat in 2002.

Executive directors from 110 of the 188 JCCs in the United States and Canada responded to the Web-based survey and stated that within the last four years, more than 40 percent of JCCs have either lengthened or shortened their operating hours in accordance with the Shabbat and other holiday observances. Decisions about a facility’s operating hours often were made by local JCCs' volunteer leadership after they conducted research, held discussions with professional staff and drafted policies, the study found.

The survey found that 75-90 percent of the JCCs that are open on Saturdays restrict regular programming, cooking, theater, food service and babysitting. About one third of the JCCs that participated in the survey kept their facilities open on Jewish holidays such as the second and final days of the festivals of Sukkoth, Simhat Torah and Passover. About 70 percent of the respondents stated that they had a written policy regarding Shabbat and 84 percent have a policy for Jewish holidays.

The location of the JCC also seemed to play a factor in its operating hours. Fifteen percent of the JCCs in the New York metropolitan area were open on Saturdays. However, in the rest of the Northeast, 72 percent were open. Eighty-three percent of JCCs in the Southwest were open on Shabbat and 70 percent in the Southeast. In the West and Canada, 60 percent were open at least part of the time on Saturday. The region with the most open JCCs on Shabbat was the Midwest with 93 percent.

To read the entire report, visit

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